The A.V. Club’s quick-and-dirty guide to Peacock

The A.V. Club’s quick-and-dirty guide to Peacock

Clockwise from left: Psych 2: Lassie Come Home (Photo: James Dittinger/Peacock), The Capture (Photo: BBC/Heyday Films/Nick Wall), The Lost World (Photo: Getty Images), Premier League soccer (Photo: Julian Finney/Getty Images), Cheers (Photo: NBC Television/Getty Images)
Clockwise from left: Psych 2: Lassie Come Home (Photo: James Dittinger/Peacock), The Capture (Photo: BBC/Heyday Films/Nick Wall), The Lost World (Photo: Getty Images), Premier League soccer (Photo: Julian Finney/Getty Images), Cheers (Photo: NBC Television/Getty Images)
Graphic: The A.V. Club

Ring those chimes: The last big launch of the 2020 Streaming Wars is upon us. While Peacock has been available to some Comcast subscribers since April, today marks the official debut of NBCUniversal’s over-the-top platform, bringing with it the now-requisite splashy premieres and tens of thousands of hours of original and archival programming. It’s a brave new world for the oldest broadcast network in the United States, with a Brave New World to call its own.

As with Quibi and HBO Max (and Disney+, and Apple TV+), The A.V. Club has kept its eye on the developments leading up to Peacock’s big bow, and we’ve compiled some of the most pertinent information in this guide. Read on for a breakdown of what you’ll get for what cost, which devices currently support Peacock (sorry, Roku and Amazon users: you’re left in the lurch again), and what shows and movies (and channels! Glorious channels!) are currently streaming on the service—some available completely free of charge.

And as always: Good Peacock to you.

A note to desktop users: If you’d like to view this story in a scrolling layout, you can narrow your browser window.

Managing editor, The A.V. Club

Advertisement

2 / 9

Free, you say?

Free, you say?

Illustration for article titled iThe A.V. Club/i’s quick-and-dirty guide to Peacock
Image: Peacock

Free, you say?

The advantage that Peacock touts over its competitors in an increasingly crowded field is a free, advertising-supported option—the type of thing that’s already on offer from IMDB TV and Crackle, though none of the other “premium” services taking aim at Netflix’s throne. It’s one of Peacock’s two main ties to its broadcasts roots (more on the other in a moment): Just as anyone with an antenna within range of an affiliate station has been able to pick up the output of the National Broadcasting Company since 1926, so too can you access Peacock with just a broadband connection and an email address. The trade-offs for free Peacock are what the trade-offs for free NBC have always been: Advertisements, and fewer choices. All 11 seasons of Cheers are yours for the taking, free Peacock user—but if you want to get a look at a more recent look at NBC’s sitcom prowess, like Superstore, that’ll cost you.

Advertisement

3 / 9

So how much are we talking? And what’s it going to take to get the ads to go away?

So how much are we talking? And what’s it going to take to get the ads to go away?

Illustration for article titled iThe A.V. Club/i’s quick-and-dirty guide to Peacock
Photo: Peacock

So how much are we talking? And what’s it going to take to get the ads to go away?

This is where it starts to get a little tricky. The entry-level paid subscription, Peacock Premium, is $4.99 a month ($49.99 annually). (For Xfinity and Cox cable customers: Congratulations, you’re automatically Peacock Premium. You felt a little different went you woke up this morning, didn’t you?) This comes with full seasons of the service’s original series, next-day access to currently airing shows, and live sports—all with commercials.

To reduce the interruptions of your Murder, She Wrote binge, there’s Peacock Premium Plus, at an extra $9.99 a month (or $50 for the whole year). Due to the nuances involved in licensing content for streaming, there’s no guarantee that Premium Plus will banish Madison Avenue from your Peacock experience entirely, but if this is anything like similar caveats for the ad-free versions of Hulu and CBS All Access, the commercials will be extremely rare, or limited almost entirely to live events and Peacock’s curated “channels.”

Advertisement

4 / 9

Channels? But this is streaming!

Channels? But this is streaming!

Channel surfing with Peacock
Channel surfing with Peacock
Image: Peacock

Channels? But this is streaming!

Indeed it is. But it’s streaming as envisioned by people who still have a foot in the linear-TV world, and as much as consumers have embraced the freedom of on-demand viewing, sometimes you just want to flip on the tube and have somebody else determine what shows up on the screen. Pluto TV already does this, and now Peacock does, too, offering 24-hour feeds devoted to the news (from Today as well as the U.K.’s Sky), individual series (SNL Vault, Unsolved Mysteries), genre (the reality-competition channel In It To Win It), and bygone eras (’80s Mixtape).

It’s also the one place you’ll find one of the crown jewels of the Peacock library until it leaves Netflix in 2021: Office Shorts presents the daily life of an American paper company circa the mid-2000s and early 2010s in what The A.V. Club, and only The A.V. Club, is terming “tiny nibbles”—or “tinis,” for short. (Any well-heeled investors and/or international money-laundering outfits looking to break into the streaming sphere are encouraged to contact The A.V. Club to discuss the terms of purchasing this new, exciting, and completely sensical nomenclature.)

Advertisement

5 / 9

Good work, you got a Qubi dig in there. So how do I watch Peacock?

Good work, you got a Qubi dig in there. So how do I watch Peacock?

Illustration for article titled iThe A.V. Club/i’s quick-and-dirty guide to Peacock
Image: Peacock

Good work, you got a Qubi dig in there. So how do I watch Peacock?

On more devices than just your phone. (Gotcha again, Quibi. Boom! roasted—this is a reference Peacock subscribers will understand in a few months.)

According to a pre-launch press release, Peacock is currently available on:

  • Apple devices including iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Apple TV 4K and Apple TV HD
  • Google platforms and devices including Android, Android TV devices, Chromecast and Chromecast built-in devices
  • Microsoft’s Xbox One family of devices, including Xbox One S and Xbox One X
  • VIZIO SmartCast TVs
  • LG Smart TVs

PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 4 Pro users will have access to Peacock beginning the week of July 20. As is the case with HBO Max, ongoing negotiations are keeping Peacock off of Amazon and Roku devices for the time being—here’s Variety’s report on where those discussions stood the day before the Peacock launch.

Advertisement

6 / 9

Peacock Originals, reviewed

Peacock Originals, reviewed

Clockwise from left: The Capture (Photo: BBC/Heyday Films/Nick Wall), Intelligence (Photo: Peacock/Sky UK Limited), Brave New World (Photo: Steve Schofield/Peacock)
Clockwise from left: The Capture (Photo: BBC/Heyday Films/Nick Wall), Intelligence (Photo: Peacock/Sky UK Limited), Brave New World (Photo: Steve Schofield/Peacock)
Graphic: The A.V. Club

Peacock Originals, reviewed

While COVID-19 and the ensuing lockdown limited the number of new and original series Peacock is premiering with, a handful of international acquisitions and originals are currently on offer. Here’s The A.V. Club’s takes on a few of them:

Psych 2: Lassie Come Home

It’s been nearly three years since Steve Franks and his co-writer James Roday Rodriguez (the actor recently changed his name) kicked off their ersatz continuation series with Psych: The Movie, a joyful affair that reunited the cast and made a great addition to the holiday movie canon. But Lassie Come Home doesn’t spend much time catching us up on the interim adventures of Shawn Spencer (Rodriguez), Burton “Gus” Guster (Dulé Hill), Juliet O’Hara (Maggie Lawson), and of course, Carlton Lassiter (Timothy Omundson). In true Psych fashion, after a mysterious opening, the movie throws an only slightly less enthusiastic Shawn and Gus right into their next case, which centers on one of their own. [Danette Chavez]

Brave New World

This Brave New World never quite emerges from its source material’s long shadow, which includes the penumbra of spiritual successors (or kin) like Westworld and Black Mirror. But the show’s superb cast certainly gives it all they’ve got as they navigate David Lee’s polished yet vaguely unnerving production design. New London was built on the ruins of the old one following some climate-related catastrophe, not that the Alphas who perch ever more precariously atop the city’s social hierarchy ever notice. It’s not their place to—an Alpha-Plus like Bernard Marx (Harry Lloyd) is responsible for the “social body,” which mostly means they’re supposed to reap all the benefits of being genetically engineered to be the best: the best-looking, the best positioned. [Danette Chavez]

Intelligence

Created and written by Nick Mohammed, a very funny gentleman whose profile is decidedly higher in the U.K. (though Americans might possibly recognize him from The Martian, the Ab Fab movie, or Bridget Jones’s Baby), Intelligence takes place within the U.K.’s Government Communications Headquarters, where agents do battle against international cyber criminals. They’re a socially awkward bunch at best, as one might expect from folks who are rarely required to leave the confines of their computer desks: Tuva (Gana Bayarsaikhan) is tall, intense, and oozes a slightly threatening sexuality; Mary (Jane Stanness) lives with her mom, dresses frumpily, and freely admits that she looks older than she is; and Joseph (played by Mohammed) has a habit of blurting things out before contemplating either their accuracy or appropriateness. Their boss, Christine (Sylvestra Le Touzel), tolerates their eccentricities because they have a history of getting the job done, but when they’re abruptly joined on their team by Jerry Bernstein (David Schwimmer), a fiery, arrogant NSA agent, it’s like throwing a grenade into their midst, blowing any sense of order to smithereens. [Will Harris]

The Capture

The Capture, already a popular British thriller, arrives this month on Peacock, positively brimming with action. The series from creator Ben Chanan tackles pertinent themes including excessive surveillance, evidence manipulation, fake news, and corruption within the government, police, and justice system. Season one is a fascinating exploration of the soaring dependency on technology to solve crimes, but it also offers a terrifying perspective on how the same tools can be maneuvered to present, per the phrase made popular by a senior White House aide, “alternate facts.” While the show starts off strong and conjures up twisty cliffhanger endings, it falters in the end due to the convoluted plot. However, with only six episodes, The Capture is just gripping enough to binge in one sitting. [Saloni Gajjar]

Advertisement

7 / 9

What else in on Peacock right now?

What else in on Peacock right now?

What else in on Peacock right now?

The Peacock library reaches beyond the various holdings of NBCUniversal, with series from all four other broadcast networks and features from Paramount, Warner Bros., and Focus Features. (With the back catalogs of Yellowstone and Ray Donovan, it’s fair to say Peacock is making a hard play for the dad demographic.) In addition to the titles listed below, news from NBC and Telemundo, and live sports including 175 Premier League soccer matches will be available in the coming months.

Peacock Free

Movies

  • The Bourne Identity
  • The Bourne Supremacy
  • The Bourne Ultimatum
  • Jurassic Park
  • The Lost World 
  • Jurassic Park III
  • Tully
  • Phantom Thread
  • The Interpreter
  • American Psycho
  • The Matrix
  • The Matrix Reloaded
  • The Matrix Revolutions
  • The Blair Witch Project 
  • The Mummy
  • Joe
  • Fletch
  • Fletch Lives
  • The Chronicles Of Riddick: Dark Fury
  • Fear
  • Psycho (1960)
  • Do the Right Thing
  • Howard The Duck
  • Billy Elliot
  • The Birds
  • Willie
  • Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas
  • The Last House On The Left
  • I Am Ali
  • In The Name Of The Father
  • The Hitcher
  • Law Abiding Citizen
  • The Sting
  • What Dreams May Come
  • Fried Green Tomatoes
  • One True Thing
  • Gosford Park
  • Dracula
  • Dragnet

TV

  • 30 Rock 
  • Parks And Recreation
  • Cheers
  • Frasier
  • Saturday Night Live
  • Saved By The Bell
  • Punky Brewster
  • Johnny Carson (
  • The Carol Burnett Show
  • Real Husbands Of Hollywood
  • Everybody Hates Chris
  • Friday Night Lights 
  • Downton Abbey
  • Parenthood
  • Monk
  • Heroes
  • Psych
  • The Game
  • Suits
  • Sacred Lies
  • Royal Pains
  • Battlestar Galactica
  • Columbo
  • Hunter
  • The Rockford Files
  • Dateline
  • 21 Jump Street
  • Highlander
  • Leave It To Beaver
  • The Munsters
  • Murder She Wrote
  • Below Deck 
  • Southern Charm
  • Chrisley Knows Best
  • Botched
  • Flipping Out
  • Million Dollar Listing New York
  • Pawn Stars
  • Storage Wars
  • Real Housewives Of Dallas
  • Jay Leno’s Garage 
  • Shahs of Sunset
  • Undercover Boss
  • Top Chef Masters
  • Hell’s Kitchen
  • Hollywood Game Night
  • American Ninja Warrior Jr.
  • Kong The Animated Series
  • Pac-Man And The Ghostly Adventures
  • Fievel’s American Tails
  • Woody Woodpecker
  • Betty En NY
  • I Love Jenni 
  • Reina De Corazones
  • The Riveras
  • Preso No. 1
  • Caso Cerrado
  • El Baron
  • El Chema
  • Larrymania
  • Perro Amor
  • Mi Familia Perfecta
  • Quien Es Quien
  • Victoria
  • Donde Esta El

Peacock Premium

Movies

  • Shrek
  • Lone Survivor
  • Ted
  • Identity Thief
  • Children Of Men
  • Charlie Wilson’s War
  • Forgetting Sarah Marshall
  • Frankenstein
  • Kicking & Screaming
  • Larry Crowne
  • You Me & Dupree.

TV

  • Two And A Half Men
  • Everybody Loves Raymond
  • George Lopez
  • The Jeff Foxworthy Show
  • King Of Queens
  • Superstore
  • House
  • The Affair
  • Yellowstone
  • Law & Order
  • Law & Order: SVU
  • Ray Donovan 
  • Swedish Dicks
  • American Ninja Warrior
  • DreamWorks Dragons: Riders Of Berk 
  • Care Bears
  • Care Bears: Welcome To Care-A-Lot
Advertisement

8 / 9

Coming soon

Coming soon

Coming soon

Originals

  • Angelyne
  • Rutherford Falls
  • Battlestar Galactica
  • Punky Brewster
  • Dr. Death
  • Housewives Mash-up
  • Saved By The Bell
  • Five Bedrooms
  • Lady Parts
  • Girls5Eva
  • Who Wrote That
  • Kids Tonight Show
  • The Amber Ruffin Show
  • Armas De Mujer
  • Caso Cerrado

Movies

  • Trolls World Tour 
  • You Should Have Left 
  • Croods 2
  • Boss Baby 2 
  • Spirit
  • Mama
  • Won’t You Be My Neighbor
  • The Purge
  • Riddick
  • Ride Along  
  • E.T.
  • American Gangster
  • ANTZ
  • Fast & Furious
  • Fast 5
  • Fast & Furious 6
  • Field Of Dreams
  • The Express
  • Knocked Up
  • Bridesmaids
  • National Lampoon’s Vacation
  • National Lampoon’s European Vacation
  • Wanted
  • Evan Almighty
  • The Conjuring
  • Dawn Of The Dead
  • The Dark Knight
  • Beetlejuice
  • The Big Lebowski
  • Scent Of A Woman
  • Meatballs
  • 3:10 To Yuma
  • Lost In Translation
  • Brokeback Mountain
  • Pitch Black
  • The Graduate
  • Police Academy
  • The Great Outdoors
  • Hostel
  • The Bone Collector
  • Robin Hood
  • The Hurt Locker
  • The Break Up
  • Open Water
  • It Follows
  • Carlito’s Way
  • Sinister

TV

  • Roseanne
  • 3rd Rock From The Sun
  • Bates Motel
  • Brooklyn Nine-Nine
  • Real Housewives Of Atlanta
  • Real Housewives Of New York
  • Real Housewives Of New Jersey
  • Real Housewives Of Orange County
  • Real Housewives Of Beverly Hills 
  • Vanderpump Rules
  • Millionaire Matchmaker
  • Top Chef
  • Married With Children
  • Curse Of Oak Island
  • First 48
  • American Pickers
  • Ancient Aliens
  • Cold Case Files
  • Charmed
Advertisement

9 / 9

Managing editor, The A.V. Club